NBA Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers ‘under’ 189½

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

The Pacers need to return to playing the great defense they have played all year after two bad games, and they have a chance to do so vs. a struggling Cleveland offense so go ‘under’.

Look for a relatively low scoring affair on Tuesday night when the Cleveland Cavaliers (24-52, 10-28 away) pay a visit to the Indiana Pacers (48-29, 29-9 home) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN at 7:05 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 189½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -102.

The Pacers clinched their first Central Division title in nine years when the Chicago Bulls lost to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, but they only did so after two failed attempts to clinch the division on their own, with the most recent loss being by 19 points 104-85 to the Washington Wizards Saturday.

Now the Pacers still have one of the very best defenses in the NBA, as they rank second in points against at 90.2 per game while leading the league in both field goal percentage allowed and three-point defense, but they need to return to that form if they want to have any hope of catching the red-hot New York Knicks, whom they now trail by 2½ games (three in the loss column) with five games remaining, for the second seed on the Eastern Conference.

You see, that loss in Washington was Indiana’s second straight blowout loss after losing here at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder by 22 points last Friday while allowing the Thunder to shoot 47.4 percent from the field, nearly six percentage points higher than the sparkling 41.7 percent the Pacers are limiting their opponents to over the entire season.

They do have an excellent chance of returning to that fine form here though, as while the Cavaliers have won two straight games following a 10-game losing streak, they have hardly been lighting up the scoreboard, in fact now failing to reach 100 points in 10 straight games.

The Cavaliers snapped their 10-game skid Friday with a surprising road win at Boston 97-91, marking the second time that Cleveland has beaten the Celtics this season, and the Cavs then followed that up with a 91-85 home win over the pitiful Orlando Magic on Sunday. Although Cleveland will obviously take those wins, its offensive struggles are far from over after shooting a combined 68-for-178, 38.2 percent in the two victories.

What is perhaps most distressing about those shooting woes is that All-Star Kyrie Irving has looked like shell of himself in his three games back since returning from a shoulder injury, averaging just 12.0 points on a disgusting 23.5 percent shooting (12-for-51).

Finally, the Cavaliers have been unable to solve the stiff Indiana defense yet this season, failing to exceed 90 points in any of the three previous meetings, so look for the ‘under’ to improve to 6-1-1 in the last eight head-to-head meetings in Indiana on Tuesday.

[gameodds]5/224353/238-19-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Cavaliers, Pacers ‘under’ 189½ (-102)